At a plenary session today, members of the European Parliament decided to grant Georgians visa free travel to the Schengen Area. With 553 votes in favour, 66 against, and 28 abstentions, the voting on visa liberalization has come to an end.
Georgian citizens will be able to travel to the Schengen Area without a visa. They will be able to travel to 22 member state countries of the European Union and four non-EU member states for 90 days in a 180-day period.
After getting the signatures from the President of the European Parliament and the chairman of the European Council, the regulation will be posted in the official journal. The visa liberalization will come into force together with the suspension mechanism in the new regulation.
Member of the European Parliament Andrejs Mamikins had stated earlier, on December 15, 2016, that Georgians will most probably be granted the visa free travel on April 15, 2017.
Many high-level European officials such as EP President Martin Schulz, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, have previously expressed their support in granting Georgians visa free travel.
EU-Georgia relations have strengthened in recent years. An EU-Georgia Association Agreement was initiated at the EU Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius on November 29, 2013, and the Association Agreement between Georgian and the European Union was signed on June 27, 2014.